Sunday, March 30, 2014

the wedding day

The weather didn't cooperate.  It rained and blew and the national weather service issued a tornado watch for our area.   Not good news for an afternoon wedding on the beach.  Not good news for the parents of the groom who were absolutely green with the flu.  

Friends of the groom stepped up and offered their beautiful Siesta Key home for the ceremony and Richard and Ruth soldiered through the worst of the virus to attend and enjoy their son's wedding.

Richard and Dave warm themselves before the fire

Ruth tries to take my picture

may I present Mr. and Mrs. Hollings

The bride's father smoked and bbq'd all manner of meat for the reception dinner and it was a delicious meal, even though it wasn't served sea side.    By the end of the ceremony the rain had stopped and the evening cleared beautifully.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Mr. David's Mobile Grooming Van arrived yesterday, right on time, but only had time to clip Lewis' face.  It will have to do, he tells me he'll come back again when he has some spare time.

Later, we met Richard and Ruth at Pattigeorge's restaurant for a pre-wedding dinner with some people we knew from our Colony Beach and Tennis days.   As usual, dinner was delicious and it was good seeing what everyone is doing.

This morning we were supposed to meet R and R for a cup and a bun in St. Armands but Richard called to say that Ruth was feeling very unwell.   Bad timing for sure.....Nick's wedding is tomorrow and she couldn't get out of bed today.   Finger's crossed for a quick recovery Ruth.

Dave spent the afternoon deflating and stowing the Zodiac in preparation for our departure on Tuesday. (she wipes a tear from the corner of her eye)    He started Beluga and let her run for awhile to make sure everything still worked, and she responded immediately and positively.  He aired up all 6 tires and then took a long walk to the beach and back.    I went grocery shopping.

Don and Carol came by around 3:30 for a tour of Holiday Cove and happy hour outside under the awning.

Since it is Friday, and we're all from the Rochester area, we walked across the street to O'Shucks for our last Friday Night Fish Fry in Cortez (another tear).  It was as good as ever and to top the evening properly, we got ice cream from Tyler's before we walked back across the street to Beluga.

So, tomorrow's Nick's wedding.   We hope neither rain nor sickness will ruin the day.    Finger's crossed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

an unexpected day

Alarm!   The jarring sound of the alarm clock woke us up this morning for Dave's weekly golf game. Not for me,  I invited Lewis up and we snuggled in the nice warm bed while Dave got ready to go.   He and John loaded the clubs and drove off  through the campground before they both realized that neither one wanted to play outside in the cold and windy morning - they turned back.

Turns out that decision allowed us to have an unexpectedly nice day.  Not that it wouldn't have been nice if the boys had been able to golf.   They would have enjoyed themselves, and I would have gotten some laundry done so the day would have been good.     BUT, around 9:30 our dear friend Richard called and asked if we could meet them for a cup and a bun......

Richard and Ruth are old friends from Doncaster, UK and they're here for the week to attend their son's wedding.    We quickly got ready and in a flash our day changed.   We picked them up at the Longboat Key Club and set off to find a mid morning snack.   We don't get to see them often and it was so so nice to sit at Le Macaron, share cups and raisin buns and catch up.

The day began to rebound and the sun warmed us a bit as we walked the entire St. Armand's circle.  Ruth and I ducked into Chico's to do a little looking and trying while Dave and Richard sat outside and kept up their conversation.

We didn't buy TOO much and they enjoyed the warm sun and long needed conversation.   Ruth and I keep up with regular emails, but they need to have a more personal form of communication.
It was good to see.

Not wanting to go home yet, we drove along Lido Key to check out Saturday's wedding site.  The wind was still cold, but the green Gulf waters welcomed them back.  

Dave and Richard kept up their conversation as we walked through the dunes to the beach.   We all remarked that it was amazing that none of us had ever been to this beach in all the years we've been coming to the area.  I guess we get stuck in our ways.

We dropped them back off at their suite at the Key Club near 2 p.m.and then decided to do a bit more shopping - for Dave this time.    First we stopped at Libby's for lunch, then got down to business.    Mission accomplished and we were back at Beluga by 6.  

When that alarm woke us this morning we thought we knew how today would play out.   How fun to be able to make last minute plans and find such unexpected pleasures along the way.
This retirement thing is pretty nice!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Friends, rain and puppy breath

It rained all day and all night Monday.   Sometimes hard, pelting rain, sometimes just drizzle.  Beluga was filled with damp towels, things don't dry here easily.

 I was able to get a technician from Mr. David's Mobile Hi Fi service to come in and diagnose a speaker problem we've had for a long time.   Luckily he had replacement speakers in his van, so it wasn't long before I was able to hear Tchaikovsky in stereo once again.  That makes me happy.

While the worker was performing his magic, Pam (of Pam and Vic) and I went to Sage Biscuit for a lunch/breakfast feast and then poked carefully around a really unique shop next door, the Bradenton Hound.   I was sorely tempted by many beautiful things, but  I only bought a tiny gourmet dog cookie as a hostess gift for our friend's sweet Chloe.

Friends Don and Carol are in the area for a week or so and we went to their campground to say "welcome" and get the grand tour of their new motorhome    Its a beauty.     I took some pictures of them and the inside of the "palace", but I must have had too much wine because they came out all blurry.     We'll see them again on Friday, so I'll get another chance.   We talked and talked and then braved the downpour to go out for dinner.

We kept our fingers crossed that the rain would go away by this morning.   Six of us here at Holiday Cove had a reservation for a tour of Southeastern Guide Dog School in Palmetto (about a half hour north of here) and it would be cancelled in case of "inclement" weather.  Pam (of Pam and Vic) does a mean rain dance (as in rain rain go away dance) and it worked once again.   Thanks Pam.

Well, it worked for the most part.  The tour started dryly but while our guide was talking, the skies began to leak again and we had to move under a beautiful Pavilion til the shower passed.  It made the tour a bit longer than usual.

Pamela and Victor listen attentively 
Finally we were able to make our way to the first stop on the tour - and my favorite.....the puppies!
Some of us sat on benches in the "arena", some of us sat on the floor and when we were all set they opened a door and a whole litter of 10 week old yellow and black balls of fire flew into the room to greet us and jump on us and kiss us and play with the floor full of toys waiting for them.

At first I tried to get good pictures of the sweet things, I managed to get a few, but finally I just put the camera away and enjoyed the mayhem.

Pam (of Pam and John) has her hands full

what are you doing under there says Vic

Lips, Eyes, and Yellow Ducky


this baby will grow up to be

someone's eyes.......

After getting our fill of babies, we walked over to the training kennels where a few adult dogs in various stages of training were waiting to greet us.

everybody loves a belly rub, right?

a conversation

After our tour was over we decided it was time for lunch.   Pam and Karen both suggested the same place, so that's where we headed.   A good choice!

A funky place right on the river with great food and good beer.  Just the ticket after a hard mornings work.    We sat outside under an umbrella and enjoyed the view and the good conversation.

happy lunch crowd minus John and David

Ever resourceful John finds a way to keep the falling tree buds from getting into his water glass.

Osprey's enjoy their lunch too

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I've always wanted to attend a Polo match.     Sarasota has an active Polo Club and we've never taken the time to drive out University Parkway and set up chairs along the field to watch the six chukkers that make up a regulation match.

Today was the day!   Years ago, when golfing at Legacy Country Club, I'd look across the street and see the stables, the green pastures and white fencing of the Polo Club and wonder when they played, if the matches were open to the public, etc.   The place has grown enormously since those days and Polo has become a big thing.

The match started at 1 p.m. and we arrived around noon.   All the parking/viewing spots along the field were already taken and people were outside their vehicles, facing the action, and enjoying various styles of tailgating.   There are no "viewing stands", and the polo field is a huge, flat grassy space 300 yards by 150 yards bordered on two sides by a low (12") black wood boundry.   Each end has tall red goal posts.    People bring their chairs, tables, umbrellas, etc. and just sit all along the sides, right next to the borders.  Kids and dogs (on leash of course) are welcomed.

People from all walks of life were represented.   Kids, especially, seemed to enjoy themselves enormously and were indulged.    Before the chukkers started, kids were given pony rides (no doubt imagining they were famous polo players) and a few young men pretended they were playing the game, even without the assistance of ponies......

We scored a perfect spot mid field and when the horses thundered by us, the ground shook.

You know I'm all about anything to do with horses, but I have to admit the game reminded me a little of football, and my reaction to football.   Moments of furious action, interspersed with longer minutes of waiting.

waiting on a ruling

where's the ball?

listening to the referee

waiting their turn on the sidelines
Polo is a rough game, rough on the horses, called "ponies" although technically they may or may not be ponies.   As I said, a match is composed of 6 chukkers, each chukker being about 7 minutes long and akin to an inning or a period or a quarter in other sports.   After each chukker, the riders race to the end of the fields where grooms are holding fresh, rested horses for them.  Each horse only plays one chukker but the riders play the entire match.

The horses tails are braided and bandaged into tight bundles and their manes are cropped off to avoid having a mallet become entangled.   They have their legs bandaged thickly to try and avoid injury in the fast movements and inevitable bangs and bumps when 10 horses are running flat out, changing direction in a fraction of a second with mallets swinging every which way.  Nevertheless, its a tough game.

I'd had enough after 3 chukkers, but decided to stay and watch the half time "show".   They had a team of clydesdales giving rides around the field.

kids running from everywhere for their ride
They also had a Parade of Hounds from a local fox hunting club, Florida's oldest, established here in 1965.    Geneseo, New York (our home base) boasts the second oldest Hunt Club in the United States, founded in 1876, so the sight of horses and hounds is a familiar one to us.

Before we left, we participated in the tradition of "divot stomping"   Spectators are invited onto the field to help replace the pieces of turf that have been dug up by flying horses hooves and pounding mallets.    Dave is an old hand at replacing divots although not quite this many.....

Divot Stomping Dave

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Selby Gardens

Again, way too many pictures of the Selby Gardens, sorry.   John, you probably don't want to read this post, I know how you feel about flower pictures.

 We really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the surroundings and the surprising details everywhere.  I think if you just walked through the various gardens you'd miss a lot.   Its beauty is in its details, obvious and hidden.   Here goes....

on one path, breaks in the mangroves framed beautiful blue pictures

Dave was fascinated
by the different shapes,
textures and colors everywhere

orchids growing in the trees high overhead

even roots were beautiful parts of the landscape

graceful fern just beginning
whimsical white blossom hanging to the ground

the fountain dripped Spanish moss and bromeliads instead of water

this silk floss tree has a wonderful thorny trunk

Dave peers into these odd looking pitcher plants


interesting details all around, high and low

cool, quiet place to reflect